Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

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Local organizations bring Thanksgiving meals to the southern Illinois community


For many students, Thanksgiving break is a time to unwind before finals and return to their hometowns. But for others, it can be a time of loneliness. Not everyone has the opportunity to prepare a meal or spend the day with loved ones. This is why several community organizations are working to bring together those who may not have a place to go this holiday season.

Newman Catholic Student Center will be hosting its 55th annual Thanksgiving Day meal from noon to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 23. The center is located between the Southern Illinois University Student Recreation Center and the train tracks. Those who would like a delivery should contact the Newman Center at 618-529-3311 by Nov. 21.

“Dinner is available to everyone in the community,” event coordinator J.P. Dunn said. “We have some people that come in and sit down for a meal, others that pick up a to-go meal, and we also make deliveries. Last year, I think we delivered somewhere between 250 and 300 meals.”


He said there is no cost for the dinner, although donations are accepted.

“It’s just an outreach [event] to the community,” he said, “to provide a good nutritious meal for people who may not have anyone to spend Thanksgiving with or may not be able to afford Thanksgiving. Or just want to be social and get out and mingle with others.”

The number can also be called if people are interested in volunteering. Dunn said the center has a great group of volunteers but could always use more help.

Maxton-Rosado Funeral Home of Du Quoin will be hosting its third annual dinner at the Elks Lodge on 300 Shagbark Road. Owners of the funeral home, Bill and Vonda Rosado, said the purpose of the event is to brighten someone’s Thanksgiving Day.

“Whether it’s financial struggle or being alone for the holidays, in our profession, we see that grief all too well,” they wrote in an email. “This is just one small way we can help bring some cheer to others.”

They added that the meal is rewarding to all who are involved.

“It’s not only cheering for those who receive the meal, those who donate, those who prepare and serve, those who deliver…we all reap the reward by seeing the joy on people’s faces by just showing a little kindness,” they said.


The meal is free, but donations are accepted. The Rosados said all proceeds will go to Perry County Transition 2 Hope. They also said they could always use kitchen help and servers, but are in desperate need of volunteers for delivery drivers, who will work in two person teams. To volunteer, call 618-542-2020.

Meals start at 11 a.m. and are available until they run out. Last year, Maxton-Rosado served around 200 meals, and they hope to reach even more people this year.

“The bulk of our meals were and we assume will be delivered, however, people may stop by and get meals to go or dine in and enjoy some fellowship!” they wrote. “You must call in to arrange a delivery on or before Tuesday, November 21st. Delivery is available to DuQuoin residents only.”

The Marion Ministerial Alliance will be pairing up with St. Joseph Catholic Church to serve dinners from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. It is an open invitation and there is no cost to attend. Executive Director J.R. Russell said the organization anticipates serving 250 to 300 meals this year.

“The Thanksgiving dinner [has] become an annual event for St. Joseph Catholic Church here in Marion,” Russell said. “And they make it part of their youth mission program to come…we just have to provide them with the turkeys. But they have a crew that comes in, they do all of the food preparation, all the serving, all the cleaning, they even give us Thanksgiving Day off which is kind of nice.”

The Ministerial Alliance works to provide food and other resources to the community year round, he said.

“We operate a soup kitchen Monday through Friday, from 11 to 12. We have a food pantry that’s open on Tuesday mornings,” he said. “And in addition to that…we have a furniture giveaway, which happens usually about once a month for items that are donated, and [we] also do financial assistance for folks that live in the Marion School District for things like rent and utilities.”

The dinner will be held at the Marion Ministerial Alliance, located at 103 E Calvert St. Deliveries are only available for those in the Marion School District, however, if someone wants to pick up a dinner, they can call 618-993-8419 to register.

Carterville Community Center will also be hosting a dinner, Office Clerk Morgan Lentz said. The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and meals are available for dine-in, pick-up or delivery. Those interested can RSVP for the event through the Carterville Water and Sewer Department by calling 618-985-2011. If interested in volunteering, contact the Carterville Ministerial Alliance at 618-985-3040.

The American Legion of Benton will be serving meals starting at noon on Thanksgiving Day. It is dine-in only, and leftovers will be given to first-responders.

“The American Legion’s mission is to serve our fellow soldiers as well as our community,” Commander Liam Mungovan said.

He said the event, which is free and open invitation, has been a tradition for at least 20 years now. This year, the Legion expects to serve around 50 to 70 meals.

“It’s for any of the soldiers, their family, or anyone in the public just wanting to eat with other people,” he said. “…If somebody would want to drop off a dish or help out while the meals are being served, give us a call at 618-438-0861.”

The American Legion will also be hosting a blood drive with the American Red Cross on Wednesday, Nov. 22 from 1-5 p.m.

Lastly, Knights of Columbus Hall No. 988 is hosting a dinner in Murphysboro. The Catholic organization is made up of area churches, but all community members are invited to join.

Grand Knight Michael Hickey said the tradition began with St. Andrew’s Church.

“This was started in the early ‘70s at St. Andrew’s school, so it’s not anything new, but it’s grown over the years,” Hickey said. “And we do have people come from all over to this.”

Meals on Wheels, a nationwide organization that works to prevent hunger in senior communities, does not work on Thanksgiving. Hickey said this was part of the reason Knights of Columbus Hall decided to serve meals.

“We deliver quite a few meals to the senior center,” he said. “…Part of the reason we do this is involvement with Meals on Wheels. And they do not run on Thanksgiving Day. So we try to include the people that need meals daily…We get a [delivery] list from the Meals on Wheels people…Otherwise, they wouldn’t be getting meals on Thanksgiving.”

Hickey said the Key Club also helps with delivering around 120 meals delivered to the homes of people requesting it.

“As far as I know, there isn’t any deadline to speak up [if wanting a meal delivered],” he said. “But they [those interested] can call the St. Andrews Church rectory…It’s 618-687-2012…We’re open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m Monday through Friday.”

Volunteers will start preparing and delivering food to the community at 9:30 a.m. Thanksgiving Day.

“The best thing to do if [you] want to volunteer is call the rectory at the church, and [your] name will be written down and given to our volunteer coordinator,” Hickey said. “And some people just show up. You know, if they want to show up and we need the people, we’ll take them.”

Doors will open to the public at 11 a.m.


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